[Podcast] Pushing Send Episode 27 – Yaro Bagriy

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Yaro Bagriy

How a newsletter creator with over 100k followers has built a community to help niche, email newsletter publishers through the struggles of both building and growing their newsletters. This is Yaro Bagriy’s story about Pushing Send.

Yaro Bagriy is a developer, innovator and podcast host who leads the Newsletter Crew newsletter community. He is passionate about the creator economy and helping people to grow their email lists.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Yaro is laser-focused on newsletters because of their scalability of revenue for the same amount of work and because you can get started immediately.
  • Finding the distribution channel of where his audience lives has been his biggest challenge, but he considers those on his list his true followers.
  • The Newsletter Crew podcast began when Yaro discovered that there weren’t a lot of resources out there to teach people how to have more successful newsletters.
  • A big topic that is talked about often in Yaro’s community is plagiarism. They brainstorm different ways to work around that. They also discuss growth, tech stacks, pricing and give each other feedback.
  • Yaro shares his favorite email tools to use and how he uses them for his newsletter and beyond. You won’t want to miss his insider look at these tools that go way beyond just sending an email newsletter.

Tweetables:

“Scalability is another big selling point for newsletters on why I love them. And with that scalability also comes the scalability of revenue.” –  @YaroBagriy

“The people on my email list are my true followers because they actually took the time and they actually want to hear more than just my tweets or my blog posts. They actually want to follow that journey and, and I actually get the key into their most intimate place on the internet, which is their inbox.” –  @YaroBagriy

“A few years ago I had subscribed to pretty much like the gateway drug newsletter, if you will, it’s @MorningBrew.” –   @YaroBagriy 

 

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Episode Transcript

Yaro Bagriy:

Paid newsletters and newsletters in general, have just been around, been around for ages, right? But just that, just like how easy they made it. Like I said, you could start it in 10 minutes. You can just go on to Substack, start it boom, 10 minutes. You’re writing, you’re making money. People want to hear what you want to know. It gives you a medium for your voice or your knowledge. And, uh, and yeah, that, that just like, that’s amazing. Just that like the masses can now, you know, by mass, I mean like the non non-technical folks can now make money online that much more easier is, is mind blowing to me.

Bryan Kelly:

From rasa.io, the free tool for sending smarter and better email newsletters. This is Pushing Send a show, featuring people who send emails, their subscribers actually want to read. I’m Bryan Kelly. And on today’s show, we explore why the founder of a community focused on building email newsletters has narrowed in on this specific topic. Here’s Yaro Bagriy sharing why he’s laser-focused on email newsletters. So you publish a newsletter, a blog, you also have a podcast. It’s all about newsletters. They’re all about newsletters, right? And you’ve even got a community that you host. So why newsletters? What’s with the focus on that?

Yaro Bagriy:

The main points on why I love email newsletters, one it’s digital it’s scalable, right? So the other thing is you can go from zero to ten, to a hundred, to a hundred thousand thousands, a hundred. So the scalability is another big, I guess, selling point for newsletters on why I love them. And with the scalability also comes with scalability of revenue, right? So say you’re doing a paid newsletter. You can earn $10 a month. You can scale it up to a hundred thousand dollars a month. You can do it anywhere in between. I mean, it’s, it’s up to you, right? So for the same amount of work. So I mean that, that could be a double-edged sword, right? So it only have 10 subscribers. I mean, you have to put in the same amount of work for those 10 subscribers as you would with, let’s say a hundred thousand subscribers, but, and the last selling point for me at least is that you can start earning money today. It’s, it’s easy. Like it’s not easy to do a newsletter. I’m not saying it’s easy to run a newsletter. I’m not saying it’s easy to build a newsletter, but you can get started today. You can get started in about five to 10 minutes and actually start earning your first dollar on the internet, in basically in 10 minutes, right? So you can get a Substack if you want to go just really quick and you just want to write add a paid subscription to it and send it off to, you know, on the internet. So those are the three main reasons why I just absolutely love newsletters. And it’s unlike any other business out there.

Bryan Kelly:

Yeah, I have to agree. So what was your first experience with an email newsletter and like really what captivated you about it?

Yaro Bagriy:

A few years ago I had subscribed to pretty much like the gateway drug newsletter, if you will, it’s Morning Brew, right? I thought it was pretty interesting. It was a product that one wouldn’t really think is a product. If that makes sense. When you think of digital product, you’re thinking SaaS, software as a service, right? You’re thinking something a little more meatier. Really love for what they’re doing, saw the potential on the scalability. Let’s say you were following a few bloggers, right? Or you’re following their company and their blog, right? I mean, no one really goes to the website to check their blog every week to see, you know, did they come out the new blog? So for me, it was kind of just like a notification system for the newsletter, if that makes sense. Cause it just comes right to my inbox pretty much in my inbox all day long, you know, on the phone, I’m connected to my inbox. So it just natural way to really keep up to date with what’s going on in different niches. I’m actually with the rise of Substack was one thing that really got me interested in that you could run a paid newsletter and I’m sure people have done this before. Obviously like stir tech really is more than a couple of years old. It’s definitely been around since way before Substack, right? So, and that was a paid newsletter, but I think what Substack did, which really caught my eye is they opened it up to the masses, right? So basically anyone could start a paid newsletter and that’s kind of what really kind of sparked my interest, if that makes sense.

Bryan Kelly:

Yeah. Starting an email newsletter is relatively easy, but what’s something that’s been a challenge or a struggle for you.

Yaro Bagriy:

Yeah. So the biggest challenge that I, at least I face in building my audiences, get to really know your target audience. You have to really know who you’re speaking to. And I think that’s, that was kind of the hardest thing to find for me, if that makes sense. And I’m still kind of looking for it. If that makes like, I don’t think I have it fully figured out finding the people or finding the channels to acquire those subscribers has been difficult. My newsletter in a sense, it’s just my real following now. I, I considered like, so if you have like 10K followers on Twitter, I don’t really consider those as true followers. The true followers are the people on my newsletter, the people on my email list, the people on my mailing list, those are my true followers because they actually took the time and they actually want to hear more than just my tweets or my blog posts that you want to follow that journey and, and actually get the key into their most intimate place on the internet, which is their inbox. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill and it’s hard to do. And maybe it’s not even find the audience. I mean, I guess I have the audience while I have at least the target audience that I want. I guess I’m just finding the distribution channel and where those people live. I think that’s the hardest part, at least at this moment in time for me.

Bryan Kelly:

I’ve had that same similar experience. What led to the creation of Newsletter Crew, the community that you’ve been running now for a little while

Yaro Bagriy:

When I started my journey to build a real legit newsletter was is that around, that was probably around eight months ago or so I realized that there wasn’t too many resources out there, but it’s such a new thing. You know, there’s a lot more resources out there now compared to like eight months ago, but that’s kind of how I got started, if that makes sense. So I was trying to find some resources online, specifically a podcast because podcasts is kind of my passive way to learn. I couldn’t find anything online, at least a podcast that was dedicated to teaching you and helping you becoming more successful newsletter creator. I was going to interview newsletter creators anyways, just to figure out how they were building their newsletter and how they’re running their newsletter. But I couldn’t find any resource on there that has already done that for me. So I was like, well, I’m going to be doing this anyways. I’m going to be interviewing and finding people and reporting. Why not just record it, do some editing, push it out for everyone to hear and actually I guess, benefit from. So that’s kind of why I started the podcast and Newsletter Crew pretty much started as a podcast. Right? So that was the first thing I think I started in first steps was sometime in June and yeah, I’ve been slowly building it up if that makes sense. So it started as a podcast and I’ve been slowly building it out now that it’s getting more and more popular, we’re beginning more and more listeners pretty much. I’ve just been slowly building it ever since. I don’t know exactly know what my next move is, but right now it definitely is a good amount of work to just maintain what it is now.

Bryan Kelly:

When we come back, Yaro describes some of the struggles members of his newsletter crew community have faced. Plus he shares some of the best tools for email newsletter creators. I’m Bryan Kelly, and you’re listening to Pushing Send from rasa.io.

rasa.io:

Creating email newsletters takes a lot of time. You might curate articles, write content, tweak your template, and look up metrics. And not to mention you’re probably doing all of this once a week. Well at rasa.io, we said enough and built a free tool to simplify the process, which saves you time. It also uses AI to personalize emails for each subscriber based on their interests. That means they get stuff they like to read. Want to see how it works. Visit www.rasa.io and click how it works.

Bryan Kelly:

Welcome back to Pushing Send. I’m Bryan Kelly. Yaro Bagriy has built a community to help niche, email newsletter publishers through the struggles of both building and growing their newsletters. And he also has a handle on some simple, yet powerful tools available to niche publishers. Here’s Yaro with some details. So what have been some of the struggles and conversations your members in the community are working through together?

Yaro Bagriy:

So, every week it’s a little different, but like I said, when we did the community podcasts, I believe it was episode 18. We talked about no, are we in a newsletter bubble? There’s tons of people are talking about that within the community. I was like, okay, let’s just get on a podcast and talk about this. The other thing was a lot of people are switching from Substack. There’s a lot of talk about, Hey, I’m on Substack, should I move to something else? You know, XYZ, a lot of discussions about that. So we sat down and talked about that one big thing that always comes up every week is, is plagiarism, right? So this is, this is a never ending topic. Really. It’s mostly just a way for us to understand kind of what’s out there. If that makes sense. We’re all just aware that, Hey man, like this guy is copying someone else’s newsletter. Let’s all be aware of this, but that’s kind of a big topic that’s been frequent every week or every couple of weeks is, you know, someone always has a newsletter that has been plagiarized and kind of brainstorm different ways to work around that. And then we kind of got into this in the Substack , subset community episode, Richard Patey basically said that he thinks a newsletter should also have a membership, should also have like some sort of membership features like a community, just because that’s really hard to plagiarize, you know, a newsletter, if it’s a paid newsletter and you’re talking about some nice how to buy digital websites, how to be a better investor, you know, what investing tips do you have that week stock picks, you know, whatever. Some could easily just subscribe to that newsletter. Pretty much pull every, you know, all that paid information, paid private information, rebundle it up into their own newsletter and just undercut the price by whatever 50% or whatever. So that’s, that’s happened a few times and we’ve had a few members on that have actually personally been a victim of that. So also another conversation that that happens quite frequently.

Bryan Kelly:

Wow, that’s really unfortunate. So are there ever conversations around how to grow an email list or what other topics are there? That’s typically the focus?

Yaro Bagriy:

I wouldn’t say there’s any one focus. I mean just, I mean, we have so many members we have, someone’s always talking about something different. Someone always has a different problem. So there’s always conversations about growth. There’s conversations about what tech stack should I use, or I’m on this tech stack trying to switch to this tech stack what are the pluses and minuses of this versus that other conversations include monetization. You know, how should I price my sponsorship? Like, okay, I have this many subscribers it’s in this niche. Here’s my open rate. Here’s my click through rate. What should I price my classified ads? How much should I have a classified ad for? Is it $10 an ad? Which my sponsor, should it be $50 per issue, a hundred dollars per issue. So there’s always conversations around that with members with paid newsletters, there’s always conversations on how should you price newsletter? What, what extra value can you add? You know, there’s always conversation on landing page feedback. So let’s say someone starts a newsletter or maybe revamps their newsletter and needs landing page feedback, right? So they’ll post the landing page. Well, you know, who’s ever available or whoever wants to just goes on, checks it out, gives the newsletter creator, their feedback. That’s been helping a lot actually. So there’s been a lot of people that have missed a lot of things on their newsletter or on their, I guess, landing page after they’ve gotten feedback. If that makes sense. So yeah, I mean there, there’s definitely, I mean, the conversations are pretty, how do I say they’re they’re spread, right? I wouldn’t say they’re, there’s no conversation focused on one thing. I mean, just looking at today is Discord chat. There’s conversation about feedback on conversations s about monetization growth, landing, page feedback. I mean, it’s, it’s pretty active and everyone’s always talking about something different.

Bryan Kelly:

Have you found there’s better tools for newsletter creators than others? Assuming some folks are technical and most are not?

Yaro Bagriy:

You know, the tech stack itself, they’re all kind of similar. I mean they’re okay. So for talking like email service providers, so let’s say MailChimp, Email Octopus, Convertkit, MailerLite, Active Campaign. I mean, there there’s a bunch of them, right? I don’t think it really matters to me. My favorite is Card plus Email Octopus. That’s, that’s kinda like by far my favorite because Email Octopus it’s free to 2,500. So it took the most generous free tier. And if you can hit 2,500 subscribers, you’re good to go. I mean, I would definitely start paying for, for an email service. If I can prove I can make 2,500 subscribers. So it’s 500 more than all the other ones. Right? So you won’t even have to pay it like a dime until you reach 2501 subscribers. Cardd is great. Cause it’s just one, there’s really beautiful landing pages. Like some of the best designs out there it’s really easy to hook up into let’s say you’re like a MailChimp or ConvertKit or an email octopus. And that’s pretty much all you really need if you’re just doing a quote unquote newsletter, you know, you’re not reaching out to other things like podcasting or membership sites or community there’s just newsletter. I think that’s, I wouldn’t spend too much time on it, but you know, if you’re not really tech savvy, you just want to write, you want to start a newsletter, you want to get paid for it. You want to start it today. You definitely recommend like sub stack review, just cause that’s, that’s pretty much what it’s built for. Right. But if you’re looking for more of a challenge, more of like a, something that you could really own, yeah I would definitely go Cardd plus Email Octopus. Does that makes sense? That being said, I mean, that’s just like the newsletter tech side itself, but like you said, you can branch out and you know, you can just go above and beyond just new that newsletter. And a lot of community members are doing that right. There are branching out building communities on top of their newsletter. Right? Building memberships, one of my favorite tools in that space is, I don’t know if you’ve heard of like Memberful, I think I’m sure you have. Yeah. So Memberful, I love it. You can create a really nice membership site. The pricing isn’t the best. it’s Little expensive, but they really hook it up to a lot of different things, right? So you can, you can create a membership site, you can have a newsletter attached to it. You can have a private podcast attached to it. You could attach it to a Discord. I believe maybe a circle or something like that. There there’s fields or community platforms are gonna attach it to. But that’s one thing, you know, if you’re looking to expand out from just being a newsletter and to being a community site or a membership site, definitely Memberful is one of my favorite tech solutions to go to.

Bryan Kelly:

I love it. I had no idea. And in fact, now I’m wondering, are there any other tools that you’d recommend?

Yaro Bagriy:

So Sparkloop is a program you can use. That’s another one we’re actually creating and that’s actually the SAS that we’re creating. We’re also, you know, at Newsletter Crew we are creating an, a referral tool as well, but yes, you know, tools like that, there is another tool called Feedletter feedletter.co. So that’s going to be a newsletter feedback tool. So pretty simple, it’s free as well. So you can definitely hook that up to your newsletter and uh, basically get feedback, uh, on, uh, every single newsletter issue. So that’s also a really interesting tool out there, I guess, in terms of like, just things around the space, there’s Duuce.com, D U U C e.com letter exchange, you know, the connects instead of exchange marketplaces to sell your newsletter, right? So you can go on there and you know, if you’re, if you’re ready to exit the game, right, or exit your newsletter, you can go on there, posted on there, find a buyer, get paid for the effort you’ve put into it and someone could acquire it. And they also got some interesting tools. I think, I think letter exchange this recent came out with a newsletter evaluation tools. You can go on there. What is the niche? What are your, you know, how many subscribers you have growth rate, open rate, click through rate, all the metrics, push that in. Look, if you kind of estimate the value of your newsletter set, that’s also an interesting tool out there. Another big thing that I always recommend is just publish your newsletter. to all the directories out there, right? So there’s, there’s tons of newsletter directories out there like 30 plus, right? So there’s Inbox Stash, at inboxstash.com. It’s probably the best newsletter directory out there inboxreads.co. I think there is. I mean, there’s tons of hose are the two that come to my head, but I mean, there’s tons of there. Get the backlinks, you know, it’s a passive growth. You get the backlinks, you get the SEO juice from it discoverability. And there’s also a few other tools. Like I forget what it was called. Oh, www.hecto.io. Yeah. It was hecto.io. So hecto.io is a, is a sponsorship tool, right? So that’s also really interesting tool. So basically you can find sponsors for your newsletter, hecto.io. So actually the founder is also part of the community. So if you have any questions, you know, he’s joined and ask him, he’s been actively building that in definitely, really, really building that, trying to find something that’s solving a really interesting problem. I mean, there, there’s a bunch of other tools that obviously I’m always talking to newsletter, I guess, indie makers or business people in that space that are making newsletter tools. So I know a lot more and there’s a lot in the works. If that makes sense. There’s a few people I know that are creating cross-promotion tools. So basically it’d be a tool that you can find people to cross promote with. And then you can verify that they actually did cross promote your newsletter, which is another big thing about cross promotion that we also haven’t talked about with the Newsletter Crew community is how do you verify other than being on the other person’s newsletter? Did they extra cross promote you? So we’ve had some people will kind of reach out to me asking like, Hey man, here’s the situation? Did they actually cross promote me? I was like, yeah. That’s like, you should probably subscribe to their newsletter and verify it, but kind of too late for that, if they don’t have an archive. So yeah. I mean there’s yeah, there’s tons of things being built every day. So I’m pretty happy about that.

Bryan Kelly:

If you publish an email newsletter of any code, you may want to check out a If you publish an email newsletter of any kind, you may want to check out a of these tools, Yaro mentioned, they will probably make your life easier and also bring a higher degree of leverage than what you might currently have. Coming up on our next episode, we’ll hear from Emily Maguire, the email marketing specialist who helps clients get more out of their email lists. Emily shares how you can uncover hidden revenue in your email list. So you don’t want to miss our discussion. If you’re listening to Pushing Send for the first time, be sure to subscribe at Apple podcasts or wherever you prefer listening to episodes that way you won’t miss any of our future shows. And if you’ve enjoyed what you heard, I’d encourage you to check out a few other episodes while you’re here. Lastly, leaving a review will help us share these stories with other people, just like yourself. Thanks for doing that. I’m Bryan Kelly, and you’ve been listening to Pushing Send.

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